Setting dating boundaries is very important. What is a boundary? I am sure there are different things that come to mind when you hear the word 'boundaries'. What we mean here is having something like a fence around your property. It shows where your property ends and someone else's starts. So it is a property line. This is very important for dating to go well. That takes us back to the fact that dating is not a problem but the problem lies with the two people involved. Lack of dating boundaries results in problems. Note that dating is experimental. It is important therefore for the two people not to put lots of emotional investment into a relationship as they date. Failure to guard against this is dangerous if the dating does not finally lead to a marriage relationship.
Dating brings about two important issues. These are freedom and responsibility. Once there is a problem on these two things, dating will not go well. Freedom is about the ability to make choices, which are based on values not guilt or fear. Commitments should be a free choice. Responsibility means ability to carry out tasks that ensure a healthy and loving relationship. Each of the dating candidates must be able to say no to anything that violates his values. Dating should be about love. True love must be properly guarded so that it may mature and then deep commitments to each other may follow. In order for this to happen, freedom and responsibility are necessary.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18).
"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ"(Ephesians 4:15).
Establishing and keeping good limits can result in a great love relationship.
How do boundaries help in a love relationship?
1) They define you
Boundaries show who you are and who you are not. Things with which you agree and disagree will be clear when there are boundaries. With dating boundaries in place, problems will be prevented before they happen. It is important to clarify your values, morals and preferences. Then it becomes easier to solve problems. Let people define you according to your own definitions of yourself.
2) Boundaries protect you
They enable you to keep in the things you want and keep out those you do not want. With the dating boundaries, toxic and unhealthy influences by people are kept out of your life. So you are not exposed to such toxic influences.
"Those who are prudent see danger and take refuge, but the naïve continue on and suffer the consequences." (Proverbs 17:12).
Boundaries help protect your heart. So you know what to let in and what to keep out. Within yourself, you have good treasures to guard and nurture. They include sincere love, which is your deepest capacity to trust and connect with others. You have your emotions to protect, which enable you to own your feelings and not allow someone else's feelings to control you. Furthermore, you have your own important things, which we call values. Your life must express and reflect what you deeply care about. There is a need to have control over how you act in your dating relationship. So you have your own behaviors. Have freedom to express your own stances and opinions about yourself and your date. You have your own attitudes and you are the only one that is responsible for what is inside your boundaries. Your life is like a garden. So you need to weed out what is not important and that which is toxic. Nurture the good and develop it.
We note that boundaries are important when dating. If you had not set your own, develop them now. They are important. They will define and protect you. You will keep your dignity no matter what finally comes out of the dating exercise. You are valuable. Keep your values. Those are the things you care about.
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